Business

Newspaper publisher McClatchy files for bankruptcy protection

Publisher of Miami Herald, Kansas City Star seeks Chapter 11

The publisher of the Miami Herald, the Kansas City Star and dozens of other newspapers nationwide is filing for bankrupt
The publisher of the Miami Herald, the Kansas City Star and dozens of other newspapers nationwide is filing for bankruptcy protection. (Associated Press)

The publisher of the Miami Herald, the Kansas City Star and dozens of other newspapers across the country has filed for bankruptcy protection.

The newspaper industry has been devastated by changing technology that has sent the vast majority of people online in search of news. While McClatchy and others have pushed digital operations aggressively, advertising dollars have continued to flow toward internet giants such as Facebook and Google.

McClatchy Co.’s 30 newsrooms, including the Charlotte Observer, the News and Observer in Raleigh, and the Star-Telegram in Fort Worth, will continue to operate as usual as the publisher reorganizes under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Gazette uses articles supplied by the company’s syndicate service, Tribune News Service.

The publisher’s origins date to 1857 when it first began publishing a four-page paper in Sacramento, Calif., following the California Gold Rush. That paper became the Sacramento Bee.

McClatchy has received $50 million in financing from Encina Business Credit that will enable it to maintain current operations for the company, which still is based in Sacramento.

“When local media suffers in the face of industry challenges, communities suffer — polarization grows, civic connections fray and borrowing costs rise for local governments,” CEO Craig Forman said. “We are moving with speed and focus to benefit all our stakeholders and our communities.”

McClatchy expects fourth-quarter revenues of $183.9 million, down 14 percent from a year earlier. Its 2019 revenue is anticipated to be down 12.1 percent from the previous year.

That would mean that the publisher’s revenue will have slid for six consecutive years.

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The company expects to pull its listing from the New York Stock Exchange as a publicly traded company, and go private.

Digital-only subscriptions have increased by almost 50 percent year over year, McClatchy said. The company has more than 200,000 digital-only subscribers and over 500,000 paid digital customer relationships.

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